11 July 2024

🎶 Sawaddee Wan Pee Mai Paa, Hai Banda Rao Than Ruen Rome, Rerk Yaam Dee Prem Pree Chuen Chom, Taang Suk Som Ni Yom Yindee… 🎶

If you have celebrated New Year holidays in Thailand before, you may have heard this New Year song being played on radio stations, TV channels and in many public places. This song is not just a New Year greeting, it has been part of Thai culture for many decades.

-New Year Blessing-

“Pohn Pee Mai” (พรปีใหม่) literally translated as New Year Blessing, was composed by His Majesty King Bhumibol the Great, and the lyrics were written by Prince Chakrapan Pensiri, in December 1951, as a new year blessing for the Thai people.

The song was first performed on January 1st, 1952 by two orchestras, the Soontharapohn band at Sala Chalerm Thai, and a student orchestra at Chulalongkorn University.

Pohn Pee Mai is the 13th royal composition (out of 49) by the much-revered late king, who has been widely praised for his musical talent, particularly in jazz and blues.

Initially, the song had no official English version. Dr. Pathorn Srikaranonda, member of Aor Sor Wan Suuk Band, the Friday jazz band that used to perform with the late king has, however, translated the song.

The full translation to the lyrics reads below:

Tis New Year’s Day bring us high,

All the joys and jolly muse.

Auspicious time we delight,

With gladness and cheerful minds.

May I wish upon the stars?

For us all with happy hearts.

Grant us kind-hearted blessings,

For us all with good fortunes.

May you fill with delight

Every day and night fills up with happiness.

Shining bright on New Year’s Day,

Bless us all in joyous prayers.

Through the year be filled with glee,

From now on with endless lee.

With no sorrow but with blissful roar,

New Year Greeting to us all.

-Newer renditions-

The song itself has plenty of new versions, rearranged in various musical styles, and performed by popular Thai artists.

Here, we’ve chosen a few versions for you to enjoy.

One of the most recent was performed by Bird Thongchai McIntyre and Violette Wautier, including cast members of “Pohn Jaak Fah” (พรจากฟ้า) movie, and it is part of the original soundtrack.

Another was performed by singer and pianist, Tor Saksit Vejsupaporn, to pay tribute to the late king.

A lighter version rearranged by Thai pop trio, FRIDAY.

For more than 60 years, since the song was first introduced, and for many generations of Thais, the song not only serves as a blessing, but also a precious gift from the revered late king, who worked tirelessly for the people throughout his reign.

By Nad Bunnag, Thai PBS World